Good Luck

October 19th, 2019

earlwattcolormugBy EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

Yeah, I was worried.

Last summer, first-year men’s basketball coach Jason Sautter was all of a sudden the veteran coach on the staff at SCCC.

Toby Wynn had stepped down as the Lady Saints head coach after a national tournament appearance, Thais Baziquetto-Allen resigned to start a new volleyball program at a Florida community college, Galen McSpadden, after stepping down a year earlier as the athletic director also resigned as the head baseball coach, and softball was also without stable leadership.

After years of competing at the highest level, it appeared Seward would fall back into the 1980s model of mediocrity.

But the results tell a different story.

Tony Trifonov stepped in to the Lady Saints volleyball program and ran a perfect 16-0 through the Jayhawk Conference and turned in a 32-7 season record.

The Lady Saints won the Region 6 Tournament and had their highest finish at the national, turning in a fourth-place national finish.

In just his second season as head coach of the Saints basketball team, Sautter put together Jayhawk West Conference championship with a 21-3 record, 28-5 overall.

The Saints then ran the table at the Region 6 Tournament, including a come-from-behind win in the final two minutes in the championship game to earn a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament as the seventh seed out of 24 teams.

Seward ended the regular season ranked 13th in the nation despite starting the season unranked.

Austin Mefford started his first year at the helm of the Lady Saints program, and he put together a Jayhawk West Conference championship with a 20-1 record and 30-3 overall.

The Lady Saints advanced to the Region 6 championship before ending a 24-game winning streak with a loss to Butler.

Mefford had to lead a team that was hampered with injuries, and the Lady saints still reached a No. 2 ranking in the NJCAA poll and earned an at-large bid to the National Tournament as a seventh seed.

Mike Davidson moved from assistant baseball coach to head coach and athletic director, replacing McSpadden in the dugout and Roy Allen in the front office.

Despite the massive amount of changes, Seward is experiencing one of its most successful athletic years so far.

The new coaches haven’t missed a beat and have continued to compete at the highest level.

Couple that with renovations in the Greenhouse with new bleachers across from the green seats and the most impressive video screen in community college athletics, and there is a continued commitment to being a top-tier athletic school.

I was concerned that the transition would have a devastating effect in all athletic programs.

Tennis is currently nationally ranked, and baseball has a winning record.

The only sport still adjusting through transition is softball. Head coach Ryan Wondrasek inherited a program that didn’t have committed leadership, and he will need more than one year to put the puzzle back together.

Overall, Seward sports are alive and well and competing at the highest national level in our division.

Now if we can just get air conditioning in the Greenhouse.

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